U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is urging Gov. David Ige to lift restrictions on youth sporting events and resume youth surf competitions and outrigger canoe races, in light of declining coronavirus cases and progress on vaccinations.
It “is time that we begin to reward the people of Hawaii for being one of the most responsible states in the country in responding to COVID-19,” Schatz wrote in a letter to Ige today. “We should not take undue risks and we should continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) guidelines, but we can take additional steps to safely lift restrictions and return to more normal life.”
“To that end, I urgently ask you to reevaluate your prohibition on parents and guardians watching youth sports,” Schatz continued. “We already allow people on beaches, we allow gatherings in bars, and we permit other outdoor activities, but we inexplicably do not allow parents and guardians to watch their own kids play sports outside in the sunshine and open air.”
While sports like youth soccer have restarted, parents have been relegated to sitting in their cars trying to watch their kids play because of restrictions on spectators.
“Additionally, I urge you to reevaluate your prohibition on all surfing competitions and outrigger canoe paddling regattas and races and recognize the distinction between the types of large surf contests that encourage fans to gather and smaller youth competitions run by the Hawaii Surf Association (HSA),” wrote Schatz. “Surfing and outrigger canoe paddling are an important part of our culture, and youth should be able to safely participate in competitions, regattas, and races.”
Schatz said lifting youth sports restrictions can be done “while remaining consistent with public health guidelines” and ” would reward hard-working families for their exemplary behavior and advance the efforts to get everyone vaccinated.”
Ige’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.